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De Blasio: NYC Is Ready For Pre-K Program

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (credit: Getty Images)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (credit: Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is touting his administration’s readiness to implement universal pre-kindergarten this fall.

The mayor announced Tuesday that the expected pool of those applying to become pre-kindergarten teachers in September should top 8,000. That is more than the 1,000 de Blasio says the city would need to handle an expected 53,000 new students.

The city would need another 1,000 teachers the following year when the program expands further.

De Blasio has launched a recruitment drive and partnership with the City University of New York to make teaching a life career path, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.

“This is an extraordinary institution that takes the best homegrown talent and helps New Yorkers move into the field of early childhood education with strong background, strong training,” de Blasio said. “We have seen increasingly in New York City talented young teachers start to teach and then leave after just a few years and that is undermining our school system.”

His announcement comes just days before the state budget is due. Pre-kindergarten funding is a contentious portion of the debate in Albany.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he does not want to send cities predetermined amounts for pre-kindergarten. He wants to allocate the money based on a city’s readiness to start a program.

“I think things are going to end well in Albany and we look forward to it,” de Blasio said.

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